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Valrhona - Guanaja
January 2, 2006
8:54 pm
Dark Matters
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December 22, 2005
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As the last morsels of another bar of Valrhona's excellent Guanaja slowly melt in my mouth I thought it was time for me to review this landmark Criollo.

Whilst the aroma is not as strong or striking as some I don't think it is necessarily a weak point. Rather, it is inviting and draws you on to tasting the chocolate. The first taste is a smooth continuation of the scent; creamy coffee with forest fruits. The taste progresses quickly, increasing in intensity with plums, papayas and prunes cascading over your tastebuds with incredible warmth. I'd have to agree with Martin that there's something toffee-like here, but it's so much more than toffee; dark, heavy and sensual.

As I finish this review the length is still just about with me, and the normal quiet floral notes you expect from a fine Criollo are putting the fruit flavours to bed.

January 2, 2006
9:52 pm
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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August 6, 2006
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Nice to here that you like Guanaja. Did you know it's not a pure criollo bar? Guanaja is made of 50% Criollo, 40% Trinitario and 10% Forasteros.

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
January 3, 2006
1:00 pm
Dark Matters
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December 22, 2005
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I assume some of the fruitiness comes from the Trinitario, and there is a slight woodiness which I tend to associate with Trinitario. I'm a bit surprised to hear about the Forastero - Guanaja's not at all acidic - but then again it is only a small percentage.

January 3, 2006
1:07 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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July 31, 2006
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Fruitiness does not equal trinitario, and acid definitely doesn't equal forastero. Life's more complicated than that I'm afraid! Valrhona's chocolate tends to be acid anyway because of their production methods, as an example take Ampamakia - a fairly pure Madagascan criollo and one of the most acid/citrus bars around, some would say too acid.

Martin Christy
Editor
http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
January 3, 2006
6:32 pm
Dark Matters
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December 22, 2005
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Well I'm always happy to learn from an expert. [8D]

January 4, 2006
5:47 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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August 1, 2006
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There are so many factors that lead to a chocolate's flavor, so singling out a lone culprit is impossible, but generally, there are certain characteristics that affect final flavor. Inherent flavor of the bean, drying and fermentation, and stylistic leanings contribute heavily. This is not to say that all beans are fruity. The genetic blueprint will determine its inherent flavor profile, but the post-harvest processing will elaborate beyond the limitations that its genetic endowment has conferred. Fruitiness can occur in any type of bean and is usually intensified due to prcoessing techniques, such as shorter roasting. A bean's natural fruitiness can be wiped out with a longer roast, for example, but otoh, it can be kept at full force with a light roast. A longer roast will impart more caramelized flavors, such as woods, fruits, spice, and dried fruits. Fermentation and other things also contribute, especially with the acidity factor. Domori has some of the most acidic chocolates on the market, perhaps an indication of their minimal processing, and sometimes it can almost be overbearing (e.g. Madagascar, Sambirano, and Rio Caribe). It's important to taste the same chocolates from different manufacturers to discern how their processing affects final flavor.

January 6, 2006
8:45 pm
seneca
USA
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May 22, 2005
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There's an interesting (but brief) article in the new Cocoaroma about roasting and pyrazines that's worth checking out if you're interested in the overall chemical construction of chocolate flavor.

Acidity (along with probably upwards of 70-75% of other total flavor moderators) will be contributed during fermentation, which is part of why origin is such a big deal in chocolate. Genetics (varietal) is one of the more minor factors in final flavor.

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com

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